Nasdaq ends at record high as US stocks finish solidly up

A view of the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

NEW YORK (AFP) - Big gains by large tech companies lifted the Nasdaq to another record close on Wednesday (July 8), as investors continued to shrug off higher coronavirus cases and the hit to the economy.

The tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 1.4 per cent to 10,492.50, its fourth record in five sessions.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7 per cent to 26,067.28, while the broad-based S&P 500 advanced 0.8 per cent to 3,169.94.

Major indices had tumbled on Tuesday but resumed their upward climb Wednesday, a sign that investors viewed the pullback as a buying opportunity.

"It's been a tug of war between investors that believe the data is getting incrementally and sequentially better, and investors concerned about the increase in case discoveries of Covid-19 and what that will be mean to the reopening plans of the economy," said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities.

Several large states, including Texas, Florida and California, have rolled back steps to reopen their economies following spikes in coronavirus cases.

But investors continue to take heart that there is little talk of full-scale lockdowns and that the Federal Reserve continues to signal maximum support for the economy.

Also, while coronavirus cases have continued to grow astronomically, the death rate in the US is much lower than in the earlier stage of the US crisis.

Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Netflix all jumped more than two percent as technology companies again outperformed other sectors. The sector has been seen as a winner as more people work from home.

United Airlines finished flat after warning it could lay off as many as 36,000 workers on Oct 1 amid a deep industry-wide downturn due to the coronavirus. The carrier said it was hopeful it could avert some of the layoffs through voluntary departures.

Levi Strauss & Co dropped 8.3 percent as it reported a second-quarter loss of US$363.5 million (S$500 million) in the wake of coronavirus closures. The jeans company plans to cut 700 jobs.

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